Tessa Bent

Tessa Bent

Provost Professor, Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

Department Chair

Director, Speech Perception Laboratory


  • Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2005
  • B.A., Millersville University, 1998

Research interests

  • Children’s perceptual development in understanding unfamiliar speech varieties, such as regional dialects and nonnative accents
  • Barriers to successful communication between healthcare providers and patients
  • Perception of indexical variables in speech including race and gender
  • Individual differences in speech perception under adverse conditions

About Tessa Bent

Tessa Bent is a Professor in the Department of Speech, Hearing and Language Sciences, director of the Speech Perception Laboratory, and Department Chair. Her current research focuses on children's and adult's perception and representation of variable speech signals, with a focus on regional and non-native accents. This research is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation. She is also conducting research on communication between patients and healthcare providers in hospital settings, which is supported by the James S. McDonnell Foundation. She takes an active-learning approach within her undergraduate courses in phonetics, sociophonetics, language development, and speech perception. She is a Senior Fellow within the IU Mosaic Initiative and a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America.  

Selected publications


Bent, T., Baese-Berk, M., Ryherd, E., and Perry, S. (2022). Intelligibility of medically related sentences in quiet, speech-shaped noise, and hospital noise. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 151(5), 3496-3508.

Merritt, B. and Bent, T. (2022). Revisiting the acoustics of speaker gender perception: A gender expansive perspective. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 151 (1), 484-499.

Baese-Berk, M. M., Bent, T. and Walker, K. (2021). Semantic predictability and
adaptation to nonnative speech. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America: Express Letters. 1(1), 015207.

Bent, T., Holt, R. F., Van Engen, K. J., Jamsek, I. A., Arzbecker, L. J., Liang, L. and Brown, E. E. (2021). How pronunciation distance impacts word recognition for children and adults. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 150(6), 4103-4117.

Francis, A. L., Bent, T., Schumaker, J., Love, J., and Silbert, N. (2021). Listener
characteristics differentially affect behavioral and physiological measures of effort associated with two challenging listening conditions. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics. 83(4), 1818-1841.